Mark Warkentien Awarded 2008-09 NBA Executive of the Year

According to the NBA Mark Warkentien has been named the 2008-09 NBA Executive of the Year.  He received nine votes from an electorate comprised of the other 30 NBA general managers.  Cleveland’s Danny Ferry was second with seven votes.

Warkentien released a statement on the award through the Nuggets.

“I proudly accept this award on behalf of Stan Kroenke and the entire Denver Nuggets organization,” Warkentien said. “This is a team honor that is a tribute to Mr. Kroenke’s leadership and vision for this season’s team. Our front office, coaching staff and players share equally in this award, and to be recognized by our peers throughout the league for our accomplishments during this special season is greatly appreciated and unexpected.” 

Interestingly Rex Chapman also received a vote giving the Nuggets’ front office ten of the 30 votes.  I wonder if Kevin McHale cast that vote as Chapman came to the Nuggets from the Timberwolves.

I could be wrong, but I do not remember a season where a team was able to shed as much payroll as the Nuggets did yet go on to have such tremendous success.  It was less than a year ago that Nuggets fans were in an uproar about the Marcus Camby trade and Warkentien was widely mocked for his comment that running an NBA team is like playing chess as opposed to checkers.  I think it is safe to say he has been vindicated. 

Now is not the time to go over all the steps that were taken to get to where they are so I will conclude by offering my most sincere congratulations to Mark Warkentien and the rest of the Nuggets front office on a job well done and for this well deserved award.

A couple of notes on the award:  The only other Nuggets executive to win the award was Vince Boryla in 1984-85 and before Danny Ainge won last season over the previous 11 seasons only one winner of the executive of the year award put together a championship team and that was Joe Dumars in 2002-03.

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  • Josh Hopp

    I watched an portion of the acceptance speech Mark Warkentein made at, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is the first time I have heard him speak and he seems like a very intelligent mad indeed. I particularly enjoyed his comments on the $10million dollar trade exeption that we got from Camby. I was among the millions of morons who went on and on about how stupid a trade it was, calling it a “donation” and a trade for “a bag of peanuts”, but man, we should have listened to you jeremy. All along you assured us that the exception gave us incredible flexibilty and just as Warkenstein said it gives you unparralleled freedom in that you can bring guys in and not have to match salary. It really was a masterstroke, and it took not only brains to pull it off but balls as well. The head office must have known that the fans initially would tear them to pieces for giving away our allegedly only decent defensive player but they knew what they were doing was right. It must rank among the best trades in NBA history given the pieces we got in return.

    One thing I don’t understand is how do you manufacture a trade exception in the first place? I.e. where did the clippers get it from?

  • jeremy

    Hey Josh Hopp, sorry about your comment not appearing. They were caught in the spam filter for some reason. I changed a setting that does not require me to approve a member’s first comment so I wonder if that had something to do with it. I will fix it if it happens again.

    Trade exceptions are created in every trade where the salaries that are being traded do not match exactly. Under the NBA trade rules salaries must be within 125% plus $100,000 so that leaves some leeway for one team to send out more than they take back. Some trade exceptions are for relatively small amounts like $50,000 or $125,000 and are basically useless since they cannot be combined with a player, they are too small to do anything with so they just sit there for a year until they expire.

    We only hear about the trade exceptions when they are large enough to be used. In the Camby trade the Clippers were far enough under the salary cap, because Brand ditched them, that they could absorb all of Camby’s contract without going over the cap and thus did not have to send any salary back to the Nuggets to acquire Camby. However, because the financial ledger has to balance out the Clippers had to send a chunk of money equal to Camby’s contract to Denver in order for the trade do be done. Thus the exception is created.

    My understanding of the Atkins trade was that the Nuggets acquired Petro with one of their spare trade exceptions, I forget where they acquired it from, and because the Grizzlies were under the cap they were able to absorb Atkins contract and thus the Nuggets received a trade exception equal to Atkins $3.2 million contract (or whatever it is). So along with the nearly $10 million Camby exception they have that $3 million plus exception for Atkins.

    I hope that helps. Basically just remember that the salary being transferred between two teams must match exactly and when the salaries themselves do not match the trade exception is utilized to bridge the gap. They are either created with cap space or with the difference between the salaries of the players being traded.

    If you have any clarifying questions please let me know and I will attempt to answer them.

  • Josh Hopp

    thanks jeremy. amazing how Brand’s ill-fated decision to ditch LA indirectly catapulted us this deep into the playoffs! some butterfly effect right there. thanks Elton.